• Germany edition
 
Germany to introduce minimum wage
Photo: DPA

Germany to introduce minimum wage

Published: 21 Nov 2013 11:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Nov 2013 11:43 GMT+01:00

Germany is set to introduce a national minimum wage, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, relenting on a key demand of her likely future centre-left governing partners.

"The Social Democrats will not conclude negotiations without a universal legal minimum wage," she said about ongoing talks to form a 'grand coalition' government, adding that her party had opposed such a move and would do its best to prevent job losses as a result.

The centre-left SPD made introducing a national minimum wage of €8.50 an hour one of the key demands in their coalition negotiations with Merkel's conservatives. 

But Merkel and her party had opposed the scheme, arguing that it would cause job losses. They argued that individual industries and regions should decided their own minimum wages instead.

Currently a patchwork of pay deals has set minimum wages for a dozen industrial and service sectors, including cleaners, electricians and security guards.

Minimum wage levels are often higher in western states than in the economically weaker states of the former East.

In the run up to the election on September 22nd, in which both the SPD, Green Party and Die Linke campaigned for a minimum wage, horror stories emerged about employers taking advantage of not having to pay a minimum wage.

Job centres in the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania reported office workers receiving €1.37 an hour, a delivery driver on €1.55 an hour and a receptionist on €2.54 an hour.

In one case a hotel maid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was paid 26 cents an hour, newspaper the Welt reported.

According to a poll in October, 83 percent of Germans supported introducing a minimum wage.

In the coalition talks, SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel, Merkel's likely future vice chancellor  insisted on nationwide minimum wage to help Germany's growing army of working poor.

The country has a jobless rate of just 6.9 percent. But, according to the DIW economic institute, 5.6 million Germans, or 17 percent of the workforce, now earn less than €8.50 an hour, especially low-skilled and part-time workers.

But the conservatives remained opposed. "The fixed minimum wage ruined East Germany," charged the conservative state premier of eastern Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, referring to the former communist government. "We must not make the same mistake."

The new president of the BDA employers' association, Ingo Kramer, said thatwhile 'poverty wages' are "unacceptable", in some cases "there are good reasons" for low hourly wages.

READ MORE: Pizza boss caught paying workers €1.59 an hour

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
JobTalk Germany
How to become an au pair in Germany
Photo: DPA

How to become an au pair in Germany

It’s not quite as romantic as the Nanny Diaries, nor is it as magical as Mary Poppins. But being an au pair in Germany can be fun, as Emma Anderson finds out. READ  

Merkel hails 'impressive' French reform plans
Merkel and Valls on Monday in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Merkel hails 'impressive' French reform plans

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday, hoping to gain Germany's blessing for his revised economic reform programme. READ  

German Fifa exec: 'Qatar won't host World Cup'
Theo Zwanziger and one of the planned stadiums in Qatar. Photo: DPA

German Fifa exec: 'Qatar won't host World Cup'

Germany's top Fifa official said on Monday Qatar will not host the 2022 World Cup as planned, due to climate conditions. Qatar's successful bid to host the tournament has been marred by corruption and human rights concerns. READ  

Germany plans air lifts to help fight Ebola
A Liberian man holds his daughter as they wait for treatment for suspected Ebola symptoms in Monrovia. Photo: DPA

Germany plans air lifts to help fight Ebola

Germany and France will send military transport planes to West Africa to help efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel and military officials said on Friday. READ  

Amazon workers walk out again
Amazon workers striking in Graben, Bavaria, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Amazon workers walk out again

Four Amazon shipping centres in Germany were the target of fresh walkouts on Monday in a long-running wage dispute with the US online retail giant. READ  

Half of German navy helicopters grounded
A German navy Sea Lynx helicopter. Photo: DPA

Half of German navy helicopters grounded

Half of the German navy helicopter fleet has been grounded after engineers found large tears in the panelling of a British-made machine on deployment. READ  

Germans say 'bah humbug' to early Xmas
Photo: DPA

Germans say 'bah humbug' to early Xmas

Christmas treats have already hit the supermarket shelves, but Germans surveyed by YouGov say "too soon!", while a third of respondents are for the government taking action to name a release date for holiday wares. READ  

Hoeneß pays tax bill, takes day off prison
Photo: DPA

Hoeneß pays tax bill, takes day off prison

The disgraced former president of Bayern Munich FC, Uli Hoeneß has paid €30 million of his outstanding taxes, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday, and has taken a day off prison. READ  

Oktoberfest 2014
Fights and a skinny dip kick off Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA

Fights and a skinny dip kick off Oktoberfest

UPDATE: Paramedics and police were kept busy at the opening weekend of Munich's Oktoberfest, treating hundreds of revellers and arresting dozens, though it was still considered a peaceful start. READ  

Child warriors, 13, leave Germany for jihad
A photograph from the jihadist affiliated group Albaraka News allegedly shows a fighter from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tying up an Iraqi soldier Photo: DPA/EPA

Child warriors, 13, leave Germany for jihad

Children as young as 13 are travelling from Germany to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic jihadists, according to German intelligence agencies. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
DPA
Gallery
The best photos from Oktoberfest's opening weekend
Photo: DPA
Munich
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's food
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Joanna Drath, University of Tübingen
Society
Europeans descended from three tribes
Photo: DPA
Culture
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Oktoberfest 2014: The best and worst in dirndl fashion
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,327
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd